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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

My family is in a dilemma right now about getting a dog. My father wants a German Shepherd (good watch dog, intelligent and popular) while me, my siblings and mother wants a Kelpie. My father believes that GSD are "real" dogs and kelpies are inferior both physically and intelligence wise. He always wanted a GSD for its prestige but I believe that we should not be owning a dog for its supposed reputation. I instantly felt a connection when I saw the kelpie I wanted to buy and knew from the moment I saw him that he was the dog I wanted while none of the GDS dogs really appealed to me.

P.s. Some of you may remember that I took care of an elderly owner's kelpie a while ago and I trained/ took care of it. I visited him every week for the past 2 months since I returned him to his owner. My mother finally decided to get a dog as she saw my dedication. :D

I believe our family is unsuitable for a German Shepherd because:
1. Constant shedding: my mother is a clean freak and hates too much dog hair. She thought the kelpie's moderate shedding was more than enough so she won't accept a dog that sheds more than the kelpie.

2. Young children: my brother is 9 years old and my sister is 13 years old. Although socialising the puppy with kids is important to avoid aggressiveness, I think a kelpie is safer than a GSD around my younger siblings. My brother is also terrified of big dogs.

3. Health problems: in the long run, I heard that Kelpies have less health issues than GSD. I will obviously pay for health insurance and the vet bills so the dog will be taken care of but kelpies are less prone to certain diseases and illness that GSD suffer from right?

4. Both dogs have high physical and mental stimulation needs. I'm okay with spending most of the day exercising them (finishing off my Masters at home this year and doing part time/ casual work next year).

I will be paying to buy the dog, its food, obedience school training, toys, insurance and vet bills/vaccination. I will also be the one responsible for majority of the cleaning, feeding, socialising, walking and exercising the dog.
Should I go ahead with buying the kelpie as I already have my eyes set on one or should I spend more time persuading my father that a GSD is unsuitable for our current life? How should I persuade him when he believes that kelpies are inferior? None of the above reasons worked so far. OR Am I simply misunderstanding GSD and I actually should reconsider to choose it over a kelpie? :ponder:

Thanks!!
 

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1. I think Kelpies are decent shedders as well, so you should be prepared for that too.
2. I would actually be very mindful of the Kelpie around kids. Those herders are mouuuuthy. They don't even realize they are doing it, so you really need to work with their nipping.
3. You're probably right, GSDs have been bred to the point of some serious problems. However, if you could find a really good breeder, you could probably avoid a lot of the problems. Kelpies as a herding breed I'm sure probably could have eye issues and as a larger dog, hip dysplasia is always a possibility.
4. You've spent time with a Kelpie, so I know you're very aware of how intense they can be. :)

Kelpies are super smart, to the point of being rather mischievous. The Kelpies I've met also are insane for energy. My friend has a farm, and she says her Kelpie routinely outlasts her Border Collie - which I didn't even think was possible!

I think if you are going to be buying the dog, training, and paying for vet bills etc, you should get what you want. You've spent time with a Kelpie, so I think you know what you're in for.
 

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I will be paying to buy the dog, its food, obedience school training, toys, insurance and vet bills/vaccination. I will also be the one responsible for majority of the cleaning, feeding, socialising, walking and exercising the dog.
Should I go ahead with buying the kelpie as I already have my eyes set on one....?
I don't know enough about these breeds to argue whether a Kelpie or a GSD is better for your family. However, I strongly believe that the primary caregiver should ALWAYS get the final say in the selection of the dog.

You're an adult and you're clearly the one making the lifelong commitment to the dog. Get the dog that YOU want. Go for the Kelpie you have your eyes on. If your dad still wants a GSD after you move out of the household, then he can get one at the time.

I honestly wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to argue breeds with dad. Instead, talk about the merits of the particular kelpie you're interested in and why that dog would be a great fit for you. And, let the breeder know that you're on your way so he or she holds the dog!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know enough about these breeds to argue whether a Kelpie or a GSD is better for your family. However, I strongly believe that the primary caregiver should ALWAYS get the final say in the selection of the dog.

You're an adult and you're clearly the one making the lifelong commitment to the dog. Get the dog that YOU want. Go for the Kelpie you have your eyes on. If your dad still wants a GSD after you move out of the household, then he can get one at the time.

I honestly wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to argue breeds with dad. Instead, talk about the merits of the particular kelpie you're interested in and why that dog would be a great fit for you. And, let the breeder know that you're on your way so he or she holds the dog!
Great idea. I already contacted the breeder who lives 3 hours away :( such a long drive...
At the end of the day I don't think it's going to benefit either of us by arguing about the breed so I'll take your advice and tell him all the benefits of a kelpie haha
 

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Discussion Starter #5
1. I think Kelpies are decent shedders as well, so you should be prepared for that too.
2. I would actually be very mindful of the Kelpie around kids. Those herders are mouuuuthy. They don't even realize they are doing it, so you really need to work with their nipping.
3. You're probably right, GSDs have been bred to the point of some serious problems. However, if you could find a really good breeder, you could probably avoid a lot of the problems. Kelpies as a herding breed I'm sure probably could have eye issues and as a larger dog, hip dysplasia is always a possibility.
4. You've spent time with a Kelpie, so I know you're very aware of how intense they can be. :)

Kelpies are super smart, to the point of being rather mischievous. The Kelpies I've met also are insane for energy. My friend has a farm, and she says her Kelpie routinely outlasts her Border Collie - which I didn't even think was possible!

I think if you are going to be buying the dog, training, and paying for vet bills etc, you should get what you want. You've spent time with a Kelpie, so I think you know what you're in for.
You have a point. Actually after reading your post, I realise I'm a little biased. I already had prior experience with kelpies (as you pointed out) so I kind of know what I will be getting myself into. On the other hand, I'm a little hesitant with GSD because I've never had one before so I'm not sure whether I can handle this kind of breed. Maybe it's a fear/ insecurity thing too for me.
 

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GSDs have so many health and temperament problems unless a good breeder can be found and those are not easy to find.

The working Kelpies I've known would not do well in a pet home.

I guess I'm not much help on choosing between these two breeds for your family.
 

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One point to bear in mind is that you will be responsible for your dog for 12 or more years. If you leave home , will you take your dog with you or will he stay with your parents, will a GSD be welcome in rented or shared accommodation?

Have you considered any other breeds?
 

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To start off: Kelpies are real dogs.



But...they're also not dogs that don't shed. Maybe less than a GSD but they're no poodle.

I'm in the GSD camp mainly because as others have said you may need to train a kelpie more to keep down on the herding instinct or channel it correctly. Which ddoesn't mean it can't be done course. While every individual dog is different german shepherd aren't known for being bad family dogs.

Barring any traumatic accident your brother will most iikely get over his fear of big dogs because he'll watch it grow up from a tiny puppy.

As far as health goes, the best health insurance you can buy is a well bred dog. Spending an extra grand right now can save you far more money in the long run
 

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Kelpies, like most herding dogs are drivey, mouthy and prone to reactivity. This can be a bad thing or a good thing depending on the kind of work you are doing with the dog. Neither a GSD or a Kelpie is a good choice for a family who is not committed to training and working the dog. Neither of these breeds, nor really any dog will entertain or train themselves, and being intelligent and sensitive, can learn bad behaviors very quickly. German Shepherds, being more popular may be a better choice because different breeders may be focused on different traits that make for a better family dog. In my experience, Kelpie breeders are primarily focused on working dogs that can handle both sheep and cattle, which makes for gregarious and extremely versatile dogs, but they might not be the best choice for a pet.
I think your best bet is to talk to breeders. Meet the adult dogs, see how they work, their daily activity and see if you can meet those needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In response to the above, I will be taking the dog with me once I move out but I'm not planning to move out until I'm married (I.e. 5-6 years) unless my family really wants to keep him. I'm not the only one doing the training so they will definitely be able to take care of him too. It's not common in my culture (at least my family) to move out. I have considered the problem with renting / dogs which is why I'm saving money to buy a house rather than renting after moving out.
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Thanks! I'll talk to the breeder about seeing the parents/activities :)
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Thats an exclusive question. Any breeder not willing to let do that shouldn't even be considered.

When you meet them keep in mind that the breeder has decades of experience with dogs but usually the breed and even the specific temperaments in their line. Which isn't to say at all that its worthless to see the parents at home and at work, its very important; just don't assume because the parents appear to be idyllic talented tractable dogs that they came that way.
 

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..Well if you're buying the dog and paying for everything with the dog, it's kind of your dog and your say, if your father wants a shepherd badly he can buy it, pay for it, and train it.. :O
 

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..Well if you're buying the dog and paying for everything with the dog, it's kind of your dog and your say, if your father wants a shepherd badly he can buy it, pay for it, and train it.. :O
Except for the fact that the dog is living in dad's house...
 

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Doesn't matter! You don't buy something for you that someone else wants and you don't. You especially don't pay for 100% of its care and upkeep and move out with it later.
 

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I have zero experience with Kelpies. I do however, have experience with GSDs and GSD mixes.

My GSD puppy (16 week old female) is very different than puppies I have had previously. She is sensitive- as in, if something is a little bit less than a positive experience it affects her and future interactions with that thing greatly. She is from working lines, so she has a wicked prey drive, is higher energy, and can become easily overstimulated in exciting situations. She is surprisingly vocal (read: whiny). She is pretty rough because she's awkward, clumsy, and getting big very quickly. The fear periods are pretty intense as well.

However, from the day we brought her home she was instantly bonded to us. My mix is more independent and not physically affectionate. My GSD just wants to be near us, lick us, love us, get pet, play, whatever- as long as we're involved. She also has a great work ethic. We've done puppy class and are in a beginner rally class and it's amazing to see how much she loves working and learning- even at such a young age. She is also so eager to please. She'd do anything I asked, even for just a "good girl".

Just my experience. GSDs are great dogs, just not for everybody.
 

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Kelpies and GSDs are going to be very similar in how much they shed, the only difference being the GSD is generally bigger and so even if they shed equally per square inch of fur, more fur = more shed.

I think both breeds would bring the same concerns/issues around children. Both dogs have a reputation for being good with kids, but supervision still is needed. The only difference is what baggage the kids may be bringing, such as a kid that got bit by a dog of a certain color in the past freaking out when it sees a dog of that color. You note one brother being afraid of big dogs. While I'd call the Kelpie a medium dog and the GSD a big dog, in my experience #1 people who are freaked out by big dogs are roughly as freaked out by medium size dogs, only small dogs are really seen as 'safe'. #2 if you get a dog as a puppy and they are fine with the puppy, as the pup grows they will stay fine with that dog even as it's size increases.

However, I'd suggest you go with the Kelpie. As a breed, I fear the GSD has been ruined, show line dogs are neurotic and unheathly, pet line dogs are bred willy nilly and many are also neurotic and unhealthy. Working line dogs are turned to because they are more mentally stable and overall more healthy, but they are very high energy and often very very bitey, and will frequently overwhelm the average pet owner. There are great GSDs out there, but it takes a lot more effort to find them than many people realize.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Kelpies and GSDs are going to be very similar in how much they shed, the only difference being the GSD is generally bigger and so even if they shed equally per square inch of fur, more fur = more shed.

I think both breeds would bring the same concerns/issues around children. Both dogs have a reputation for being good with kids, but supervision still is needed. The only difference is what baggage the kids may be bringing, such as a kid that got bit by a dog of a certain color in the past freaking out when it sees a dog of that color. You note one brother being afraid of big dogs. While I'd call the Kelpie a medium dog and the GSD a big dog, in my experience #1 people who are freaked out by big dogs are roughly as freaked out by medium size dogs, only small dogs are really seen as 'safe'. #2 if you get a dog as a puppy and they are fine with the puppy, as the pup grows they will stay fine with that dog even as it's size increases.

However, I'd suggest you go with the Kelpie. As a breed, I fear the GSD has been ruined, show line dogs are neurotic and unheathly, pet line dogs are bred willy nilly and many are also neurotic and unhealthy. Working line dogs are turned to because they are more mentally stable and overall more healthy, but they are very high energy and often very very bitey, and will frequently overwhelm the average pet owner. There are great GSDs out there, but it takes a lot more effort to find them than many people realize.

Yes you do have a point - my brother will probably be fine as he grows up with a puppy. He wasn't bitten or attacked by a big dog. He is simply afraid of a lot of things due to his sheltered upbringing but I'm sure a 10 year old boy will be fine as he grows up.

By the way, we have decided to get a Kelpie from Noonbarra. Although they are a working line, they are also renowned for selecting suitable kelpies as companion dogs and suburban families. They evaluate the dogs based on their temperament and we have heard a lot of good reviews from families who want a dog as a pet rather than for work. We are prepared to provide the exercise both physically and mentally for the Kelpie considering that we have spent the past few weeks researching about Kelpies and their general exercise requirements and needs. I'm also considering enrolling the dog in agility training later on. :) Hopefully 2 -3 walks and some good running, ~ 2 hours of obedience training and games will be enough everyday along with a few hours at dog classes and dog parks on the weekend. I'll be home for majority of the days during the week so the dog can just stay next to me while I'm doing other things throughout the day.

Seems like there are hyperactive and somewhat laid back dogs in both the working and show lines. It all really depends on the individual dog and the best solution right now for us is to find a reputable breeder who knows their dogs. :ponder:
 

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I had a neighbor who had a GSD he was bred from the german line so he was larger.. Smartest and most well behaved dog. He lived with a maltipoo, 3 kittens, and a pit bull never had any problems.
 
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